If you follow many career blogs, you’ve probably seen articles encouraging you to consider cultural fit when evaluating a new career opportunity. While culture may seem to take a backseat to a good salary or even enjoying the type of work you’ll be doing, recent surveys have shown that culture matters and that a bad cultural fit is actually one of the top reasons people leave their jobs. Is it possible, however, for two vastly different cultures to coexist and thrive? We think so.
In 2013, Accenture was faced with combining two very different cultures when the company acquired design consultancy Fjord. Integrating corporate and creative cultures would prove to be a daunting task – and knowing that more than half of mergers fail, often because of culture, it was important to Accenture to do what we could to make sure this merger went as smoothly as possible for our people and our clients. According to Accenture’s Olof Schybergson and Baiju Shah, rather than marry the two cultures, “we worked to foster a culturally diverse environment in the hopes that it would draw out the best parts of our newly merged workforce.”
Below are three things this experience taught us – and that we think you should consider when evaluating the cultural fit of a new, or existing, opportunity:
Have a Unified Vision – Understanding that the end goal is the same, despite the journey you take to get there, is important. By creating a shared belief system, you can focus on the results of your work rather than the tension of working differently.
Protect and Celebrate What’s Special – When you join a new organization, you bring with you all of your experience and individual strengths. You are also presented with the opportunity to learn a new way of doing things that could work just as well, or sometimes better. Recognizing when to do things your way and when to do things a different way can be tricky – but it could also be the key to your success in this position and beyond.
Teach Each Other a New Language – Learning to speak each other’s language can be a challenge but working to understand where the other is coming from can help bridge a gap between your point of view and that of your teammates or boss. Familiarize yourself with your team’s processes and goals. Share how your way of doing things can benefit the organization but be open to understanding how the organization’s way of doing things can also benefit you.
It’s important to remember that “culture is dynamic, living and breathing – not something static.” Rather than focusing on which way is the “right way” to accomplish goals. Organizations and their people can benefit from understanding that you can’t indoctrinate culture.
Read the article “Can Corporate And Creative Cultures Ever Truly Merge?” to learn more about the merger. Visit the Accenture Interactive page to stay up-to-date with news on Fjord’s design and innovation.